UN and EU in Ghana kick off global 16 Days of Activism campaign in Ada

UN Women 16 days of Activism campaign

On the International Day on the Elimination of Violence against Women and Children, the European Union in Ghana, the United Nations, bi-lateral developing partners and partners from civil society launched the Ghana-EU initiative to support the global UN Women 16 days of Activism campaign to end violence against women and girls at a Community Durbar in Ada, Ada East District.

The Community Durbar was also attended by the Deputy Minister, Hon. John Alexander Ackon, of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection of Ghana.  Together, the partners presented to the communities approaches to preventing violence. This will be followed by a range of initiatives across the country involving local authorities, schools and the media.

Over 300 people from the communities around the Ada East District, gathered to celebrate the launch of the Campaign. "This campaign that we are launching today is not just a renewed effort at ending violence against women and children, it is also an effort aimed at preventing it from happening in the first place", explained Maria Pilar Palmero Vaquero, Head of Governance, European Union in Ghana, when she opened the Durbar.

In a keynote address, the Deputy Minister, Hon. John Alexander Ackon, on behalf of the Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Hon. Nana Oye Lithur, presented the latest initiatives undertaken by the government to end gender-based violence. Ghana has been involved with the international community in the preparation of the Sustainable Development Agenda replacing the Millennium Development Goals. For the first time, the agenda includes specific targets and indicators on ending violence against women. He noted that although Ghana adopted a Domestic Violence Act (Act 732) in 2007, the continued prevalence of violence against women and children is still a source of concern.

As stated by the Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. María Alonso, worldwide one out of three women has been the victim of violence. Out of 4,5 million victims of sexual exploitation, 98% are women and girls, and around 700 million women have been victims of forced marriages. Moreover, 133 million girls globally have suffered genital mutilation. In Ghana, 1,5% of girls aged 15-19 and 6,5% of women aged 45-49 have been subjected to female genital mutilation between 2002 and 2013. Bianca Juhl Andersen, Programme Analyst at the Resident Coordinator's Office, UN Ghana, congratulated the Government of Ghana on the reduction of female genital mutilation cases in Ghana, and expressed the UN’s continued support to Ghana in their efforts towards eliminating violence against women and girls as part of the post-2015 agenda.

The costs of violence against women and children are extremely high. They include the direct costs of services to treat and support abused women and their children, and to bring perpetrators to justice, but they also include indirect costs such as the deep shame for women and their families, lost employment and productivity, and the costs in human pain and suffering.

This year's International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women marked the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which first laid down a road map for gender equality. “Millions of people across the world are uniting under the banner colour orange, chosen to symbolize the brighter future of a world free from violence against women and girls. This year, in a sign of the growing momentum for change, orange lights will illuminate iconic landmarks from the historic ruins at Petra in Jordan to Niagara Falls in North America.” Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations. As part of this global campaign the UNDP building on Ringroad East in Accra is lid orange at night for the entire 16 days.

Join us and share your photos, messages and videos showing how you orange your world at facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE and twitter.com/SayNO_UNiTE using the hashtags #16days, #16daysGhana and #orangetheworld.